East Coast guitarist Steve Herberman presents a program of his original compositions on Action: Reaction. Along with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber, he romps and stomps in jazz's modern mainstream climate with creative asides added into each selection. Theirs is an equal-sharing trio that puts each voice into the spotlight throughout the session. Each artist takes solo opportunities, but the emphasis remains on three-way duties where everyone leads together.
Herberman plays a 7-string guitar, which extends the bass range of the instrument. Thus, his interpretations move fluidly up and down the registers with utmost freedom. His songs offer up a lyrical presence that floats delicately as if riding on a cushion of air. Herberman articulates with the fingers of his right hand instead of using a pick; thus, achieving a natural outlook that melds comfortably with that of double bass and drums.
The mood varies. "Negev Journey runs exotic, while "Shoutin' Down belies a taste of the blues. Most of the program maintains a clear dedication to lyric beauty. With Herberman's fluid technique, that's not difficult. It's natural. Both Gress and Ferber keep each melody close at hand while pushing their respective viewpoints with a casual motion. Crisp and clear, their conversations mimic that of the guitarist.
The trio rocks when the song calls for it and settles in comfortably for a gentle respite elsewhere. They keep things cool and cozy. Rooted in the music of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green, Herberman's originals carry a familiar air while bringing new melodies to the forum. His trio brings us a lyrical session that proves unforgettable in its devotion to melodic beauty.
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